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March 2006

Hurricane Relief Fund Update

English: Asylum for the Verbally Insane
Author unknown

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
but though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

Let's face it--English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that
quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?

We ship by truck but send cargo by ship. We have noses that run and feet that smell. And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on. So if Father is Pop, how come Mother isn't Mop? And that is just the beginning - even though this is the end.

Travel Trends

Websites judged in a less than a blink: “In just a brief one-twentieth of a second – less than half the time it takes to blink – people make aesthetic judgments that influence the rest of their experience with an Internet site.” So says a study published in the latest issue of Behaviour and Information Technology journal (a product of the U.K., hence the “u” in “behavior.”) The author of the article, Gitte Lindgaard, said that “Web designers have to make sure they’re not offending users visually. If the first impression is negative, you’ll probably drive people off.” But the results did not show how to win a positive reaction from users. While further research may offer more clues, Lindgaard said the array of personal taste would always be a limiting factor.

International Tourism Up in 2005: The United Nations World Tourism Organization reported thatthe number of international tourist arrivals recorded worldwide grew by 5.5% and exceeded 800 million for the first time ever.” Despite natural disasters and terrorism attacks in 2005, international tourism fared well. “Based on detailed results for a large number of destinations included in the January issue of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the number of international tourist arrivals in 2005 is estimated at 808 million, up from 766 million in 2004.”

Africa led the way in 2005, with growth estimated at 10%. Growth in Asia and the Pacific averaged 7%. Growth reached 6%, with North America (+4%) and the Caribbean (+5%) slightly below the regional average. The United States continued the recovery started in 2004 (+8% Jan-Sep), while Mexico (+8% Jan-Nov) and Cuba (+13% Jan-Nov) still showed above-average increases. The Middle East increase for 2005 is estimated at 7%. Europe recorded relatively modest growth of 4%, which is still one percentage point above the long-term trend of the region.

In 2006, the current gradual growth is expected to continue. Uncertainties for 2006 include terrorism; rising energy prices, inflation and interest rates; and the spread of avian flu.

Boomers are not Geezers: More than half of the 77 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, dubbed the baby boomers, are now over the age of 50. For hoteliers, this means “changing the language and messages that we have traditionally utilized in our efforts to connect with the 50-plus or so-called ‘senior’ market;” the old rules of marketing no longer apply.

“Consumers age 50 and older now buy a quarter of the scooters Vespa sells in the United States. They have plenty of money and are not afraid to spend it to fuel their active lifestyles; are ready, willing, and able to try new, even adventurous experiences; and they are the largest and most lucrative group of travel related consumers. We can’t afford to ignore them, or their wants and needs,” article author John S. Fareed says. It is estimated that boomers spend 40% more time vacationing and 74% more money on a traditional vacation than the 18- to 34-year-old set.

"Here are some things to keep in mind when marketing to this group:

  • No labels please: Don’t try to classify or label boomers. It doesn’t work. Some boomers are retiring early, while others are still working, perhaps even within a new start-up. Some are empty nesters, while others are just starting families. They are connected to people of all ages and are plugged into a variety of media outlets. Boomers have active social lives with a multitude of interests, and ultimately defy generalizations.

  • It’s never too late to learn: Boomers have a thirst for knowledge and actively pursue educational opportunities. Offer packages and programs that include courses in food preparation, wine tasting, gardening, foreign languages, historical tours, relationship management, sexuality, health management, relaxation techniques, or even financial management.

  • Still working on ‘me’: Boomers pursue self-discovery, self-improvement, and reinvention opportunities. Maturing boomers are also in pursuit of physical fitness and desire exercise programs that include ‘joint-friendly’ fitness equipment, low-impact aerobics, and gentle yoga classes. Genuine relaxation programs and spa treatments are high priorities for boomers too.

  • Born To Be Wild: Boomers are explorers. They want exciting adventures and/or experiences, ones that will either take them off the beaten track to some exotic destination, or provide an unusual one-of-a-kind experience. It is important that you sell your property’s attributes as exciting and adventurous. If you’re located within an exotic destination, inspire boomers with words that paint the experience. If you’re not, consider offering exclusive experiences like tickets to concerts or sporting events, bike or sports car shows, and celebrity weekends with golfers, authors, chefs or vintners. Think creatively about how to make your hotel or resort more exciting and interesting.

  • Buzz is everything: Boomers want value for their most precious commodities – time and money – and word-of-mouth marketing is gospel. They also have access to a wealth of information and will look for third-party confirmation to be sure you are worth their time and money. If you can deliver, or better yet, go beyond what you’ve promised in your marketing messages, they will very likely spread the word. Make sure everyone in your organization understands this. It’s all about the promise versus the actual experience, and the resulting buzz will either work for or against you."

Rural Americans are in the loop: The use of high-speed Internet services is growing quickly in rural areas, according to a new survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. “Pew reports that as of last fall, 24 percent of rural Americans had broadband Internet service at home, more than double the 9 percent rate reported in 2003. In contrast, 39 percent of urban and suburban dwellers had broadband last fall, up from 22 percent in 2003.” The reason for the increase may be the increased availability of broadband service in rural areas, Pew reports. Pew reports that 62 percent of rural residents use the Internet, compared with 70 percent elsewhere. (The number includes use of dial-up service and Internet access at work.) Rural users are more likely to log on for education and games, but less likely to participate in online banking and buying travel services.

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